Zooming in and zooming out. Doing is not enough. We must schedule the time to think. Long moments of quiet.
Creativity to me is letting ideas flow. But here is a problem. Creativity often breeds random ideas and metaphors. Sometimes they simply don’t make sense. And good writing does make sense. “Good writing is memorable,” ~ poetry teacher. The question is, how to let your creativity flow and still make sense.
Update on 25th:
I noticed how my ideas change based on the input. Let’s say I provide feedback to someone on their ideas. Then, I instantly notice how the advice I just gave applies to ideas of my own. Interesting!
So what did I learn? Creativity is useful when a metaphor or idea helps to communicate a message to the audience. If the creative part confuses people, change it so that it provides clarity. Always seek out to give feedback and ask for feedback.
Observation is key for invention which comes from design not arts.”
“I used to make things to please people, but now I make things that please me and that are true to myself, and then those things find people who think the same as me..”
“Being an influence as an artist is more important than how great artist you are.”
“… have confidence in their own vision, being tru-est to yourself, focused commitment to what they do.”
“Things can be done only at a certain time. We cannot repeat 60ies. Everything has its time. Things are specific to a particular moment. E.g. you cannot be radical now. What would you be radical about? Everything is happening simultaneously now. It is hard to operate as an artist now.”
“Many young students don’t make anything. But they take things that were made [before] for granted.”
“We are now in a social revolution, creating whole new aesthetics.”
“Art: try anything you want. Art said Yes while other disciplines said No,”
What to do with ideas in your head? Write them down. Then, group them together.
When we look at our goals list, we have a choice.
- Keep on climbing the ladders.
- Making the leap.
Climbing the ladders requires persistence. Making the leap – creativity. Which one do you pick?
If you end up on the creative path, pack a tool or a few with you: self-management and awareness will do.
We talked about ethics. “I miss such conversations at tech events,” I said. That morning I was at a different kind of event. No matter where I looked, I saw skirts, heels and makeup. I could also spot a different kind of conversations. A different kind of vibe.
There it was, International Women’s Day.
“One more event for women in business? Oh no. Again?” I wondered. I was wrong. It was an event full of humanity. Have you ever seen theatre and chorus playing in tandem with the panel discussions and inspiring speeches at a business type of event? I haven’t.
It was a creative morning. And I wonder if women are here to blame.
If you read what I write, you know that I question what’s like to be a human being in the world where technology is often more efficient than humans. My conclusion is, people are good at making mistakes until they find a creative gem and create something great.
A human being is a creature who is unique in its ability to use language and art for self-expression, exchange of ideas and organisation of purposeful groups.” ~ The Banana Break
Women ask different questions
And here I remember my female friends. By nature, the role of women is different to men. If we look at the social norms, women are those who are sharing, connecting others and starting conversations to solve problems. Women are raising children and spreading the good values and gathering people together.
Women naturally ask different questions. Those are the questions about education, health, food and wellbeing. Such questions lead to different answers, different solutions, different ideas, startups, businesses, social initiatives, nonprofits, various networks, and so on. Even different kind of events.
Naturally if we lack women in businesses and especially in technology environments, we miss on very important questions that lead to big ideas. On the global level then we are not tackling problems that need to be solved.
Making products people need
I noticed one thing when working at a startup, then developing a startup of my own and mentoring at startup programmes. The hardest question to answer often is ‘what problem do you solve?’
We often come up with an idea for a startup by asking ‘wouldn’t it be cool if..?’ Yes, perhaps it would be cool to develop one more messenger or a money transfer app but do you really need this?
We often waste our time on things that are cool but those are the things that no one needs. When I ask my friends programmers (who happen to be male) ‘what problem do you want to solve?’ and ‘what do you care about?’ what I often hear is silence. Perhaps we’re wired differently? We care about different things and ask different questions.
Why listening matters
There’s one thing that is special about women. I always notice it when I have a Skype call or a coffee catch up with my female friends. This one thing is an ability to listen.
And why is listening so important?
It’s crucial, especially when developing technology. If you want to make something people want to use, you need to be able to wear your customers’ hats and imagine their life in a day, how they are going to use your application.
It’s hard. It’s hard to imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes unless you develop a skill to listen and ask coaching questions through your lifetime. Listen to people, not suggest and sell but sit there and listen, and try to understand what problem people have and how you can solve it.
Listen and create value
The social norms that we’ve developed throughout the history had given women better listening skills comparing to men. If you’re a woman, you’re interacting with the diverse groups of people throughout a day. No matter if you’re raising your kids, chatting with someone when buying groceries or trying to spot the best advice for your makeup kit or a new haircut, you have to listen to people all day long.
It’s worth noticing the correlation between a typical day in the life of a woman and her qualities — listening, ability to understand people and notice things, notice that someone is left behind or has an issue. And when a problem is noticed, it can be solved.
If we lack women in technology, we miss on very important questions that lead to big ideas.
Invent your profession
We often talk about how to attract more women in technology. My idea is simple, start early and let every child be whatever they want to be. Do not assume that girls like pink and boys, blue. Do not ask your kids to wear a skirt if they don’t want to. The world is a much more interesting place when we let every one of us be ourselves.
Let yourself be whatever you want to be and perhaps, when next year we talk about women in tech and share why every single girl should learn to code, we can also talk about jobs that naturally fit certain qualities of females and other creatives.
If you’re wondering about your future career, there are plenty of jobs in tech which need not the coding skills but an ability to relate to people and make insights. There are also a lot of problems in the world that can be solved by listening to what people need and creating companies of your own.
Ask your type of questions and go create something.
What do humans do when technology is simply better? Make mistakes,” I thought. Make a human error until you create something great.
Robots Will Steal My Job?
Years passed when you tried to innovate. This time, you have the threat to be replaced. I hear this every day:
- Artificial intelligence beats a human in board games competition.
- “AIs will begin to sense and use all five senses in next 2 years” I got a Diamandis newsletter.
What Humans Do Well
It’s an unfair game. Humans are not wired this way. We struggle to stay on task. We procrastinate.
By definition, humans are unique in their ability to use language and art for self-expression, exchange of ideas and organisation of purposeful groups. ~ The humans at Wikipedia
Why do we keep playing a productivity game?
No one likes to change but we keep trying to manage change. Perhaps it’s time to get human again and take a break?
Creativity needs space.